Home-made Lava Lamp [updated for the Last Time]




This instructable will show you how to make a lava lamp form household ingredients.
There was once a instructable how to make one, but it was not quite good. You can still find it here: https://www.instructables.com/id/EJCIH9CHRMEYF8MQ68?ALLSTEPS
I'll try to make it quite simple and I have photos and a movie (my own even :)!

This project will cost you dearly: about about few promiles from few promiles of your monthly sallary. And will consume an enormous amount of time, like... 15 minutes.

I always loved lava lamps, but buying one was just a little bit beyond me so I've decided to make my own.

So let's go!

Please note, aside from this instructable being my first one, I'm not an native english speaker so any comments pointing out mistakes are welcome.

I'm still thinking about a stand, so the bottle will be warmed and lighted up by a light bulb.

UPDATE: the water-colours were a "not-so-quite-good" choice. See the last step. Also the brush I used to mix the paint with the water left some of it's hair.

UPDATE 2: The "dust" in the last step is not from the water colours. I was from the calcium tablet.
Also warming up with a halogen lamp fails to produce the desired lava lamp effect (the base was (about 48 deegres Celsius hot). I still don't know if it's the effect of the calcium sediment or the water-oil combination just won't work.

LAST UPDATE: The oil-water combination just dosen't work. Sorry - this is a "one tablet - one go" instructable.


Step 1: The Ingredients

You'll need:
-a target bottle; my had 300 ml of bathing oil, but it's capacity is a little bit larger
-fizzy calcium (or any other fizzing tablet)
-225 ml of oil (3/4 of the bottle capacity; I used more and it caused me trouble later)
-75 ml of water (I also used a little bit to much)
-water-colours (or any other dye soluble in water)
-a heat source (tipicaly a conventional light bulb)
-one little child for slave la... HELPING you...
-a paintbrush to mix the water and the paint (choose wisely! my brush left few hairs in the water, witch went to the bottle...)

Step 2: Oil

Add the oil

Step 3: Dye the Water

Add some water-colour to the water and stirr. The colour is of course your choice. I've stayed with blue witch in the end became sky-blue.

My little sister is helping me to stirr :)

Step 4: Pour in the Water

Pour the water into the bottle. Watch the nice effect :)

Step 5: Adding the Fizz

Break the tablet into pieces that can fit into the bottle and throw them in. Enjoy the effect :)

On the video you will see why you shouldn't put in too much oil and water and why your mother CAN'T put her palm on top of the bottle :P

The voices on the video are in polish. Don't mind them. They only appreciate my work ;)

Step 6: Enjoy

...your hard work ;]
And add the heat source for the lava lamp effect.

Step 7: [Update] Few Days Later...

As you see some white particles precipitated (this is the right word? :P) from the water-paint solution. And in a cold enviroment they don't want to mix. So this could be either annoying or a unplanned visual effect.

Also making bigger bubles is hard for a cold bottle.



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    14 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    I you want to keep it going, then yes. But at some point the mixture will become saturated with with the tablet's remains. A this point I don't know if it will work any more.


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

     aww thats too bad... does anyone know how to build a lava lamp that stays going by itself?


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 7

    there's also another way with benzilic alcohol, and salty water (4.8 % of salt), with tis method you must use the bulb under the bottle otherwise it doesen´t work YOU CAN SEE THE RESULTS HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQEvSLmi0tk&feature=related


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 7

    Yes, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u6JE3TKBg4 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZbMmH-y8hY&feature=related made with mineral oil, alcohol 70%, alcohol 95%, oil based coloring, and trementin

    Woo Doo Dootwisted

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i would really like the answer to this question too does it only make bubbles until the tablets dissolve?? what if u use a closed container plz reply


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    It should also work when heated up. That's what I aim for, but as for now I'm lacking materials and time :/


    Sweet, I've made several attempts @ a lava lamp, but none of them were successful =(

    One question: Will you get big blobs eventually, or will these micro-blobs perpetually float and sink?

    3 replies

    The blobs will later go down and form a larger one, and those with CO2 will go up (if you leave the bottle open). But those are observations on a cold bottle only :/


    Since it's probably been a decent amount of time, could you post pics of the larger blobs etc? Perhaps even a video??


    Unfortunaetly I didn't get them :/ I don't have the materials to build a proper bulb housing. But shaking a cold bottle only makes the small ones... There will be a small update mabye later today (GMT +1 of course ;), because the water-colours have appeared to be a bad choice :/


    12 years ago on Introduction

    its awesome personaly i like the small blobs, because you spin it around a bunch and it looks awesome (exspshaly when its heated)


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah i have the same question will they ever become blobs ? Nice instructable tho good work